Chants work extra innings to give Gilmore 1,000 wins

ccubase-gilmore1000Coastal Carolina gave its head baseball coach Gary Gilmore a dramatic 4-3 win in 13 innings versus Presbyterian College Thursday afternoon to give the 25-year skipper his 1,000th  career victory.

He is the 50th NCAA Division I coach to reach 1,000 career wins and is one of 16 active coaches to reach the milestone.

Ironically, Gilmore’s first win came versus Presbyterian in 1990 in his first game as a head coach at USC Aiken. His career record now stands at 1,000-489-2 in his 25th year as a head coach, including a 747-387 mark in 19 years as Coastal’s mentor (1996-present) and a 253-102-2 record in six years (1990-95) at USC Aiken.

After giving up two runs in the top of the seventh, Coastal Carolina (18-21, 9-7 Big South) answered with three runs in the home half to tie the game at 3-3. However, neither team could break through over the next five-and-a-half innings until the Chants pushed across the game-winner in the bottom of the 13th.

Reid Moman started the CCU half of the 13th with a double. He advanced to third thanks to a Colin Hering sacrifice bunt. After Richard Carter with hit by a pitch, Presbyterian (12-24-1, 5-11 Big South) elected to intentionally walk nine-hole hitter Steven Whitaker to set up a potential force out at any base. Connor Owings came through with a line drive to the first baseman and the ball ricocheted off his glove, allowing all players to be safe for the game winner.

Both teams had several opportunities to end the game earlier.

First, Coastal tried to end the game in regulation. Carter drew a leadoff walk and Whitaker moved Cater to second with a sacrifice bunt. However, PC relief pitcher Ethan Wortkoetter (1-3) got a strikeout and fly out to force extra innings.

In the 10th inning, with runners on first and third, Presbyterian attempted a squeeze play with two outs, but CCU relief pitcher Andrew Beckwith (2-1) fielded the bunt and threw out the runner at the plate.

In the 11th inning, Coastal’s Moman tried to score from second base on a single to left field, but was erased at the plate to end the frame. The next inning, Coastal had runners on first and third with two outs, but could not capitalize.

The Blue Hose threatened in the top of the 13th when pinch hitter Brad Zebedis ripped a one-out, ground rule double down the left field line. However, Beckwith responded with a strikeout and ground out to set up the dramatic finish in the bottom of the 13th.

Presbyterian struck first. With two outs in the top of the third, Jacob Midkiff singled and moved to third on Weston Jackson single. The Blue Hose executed a double steal with Jackson going to second, drawing the throw, to allow Midkiff to score from third.

The Blue Hose pushed their advantage to 3-0 with two runs in the top of the seventh. Cam McRae hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Jay Lizanich plated McRae with an RBI single. Derek Long followed with a hit-and-run single through the right side of the infield to put Lizanich on third.  Lizanich then scored on Glen Casaceli RBI ground out.

Coastal tied the game with three runs in the home half of the seventh. Kyle Jackson started the rally with a single and moved to third on Hering’s double to left field. Pinch hitter Carter brought home Jackson on an RBI ground out with Hering taking third on the play. Connor Owings walked and stole second. Michael Paez tied the game with a two-run single to left field.

Owings, Hering and Whitaker each had two hits for the Chanticleers, while Paez led the way with two RBI. Billy Motroni, Lizanich and Long each had two hits for the Blue Hose.

On the mound for Coastal, Tyler Herb pitched nine innings before giving way to Beckwith. Herb allowed eight hits ans three runs with no walks and seven strikeouts. Beckwith worked the final four innings. He allowed three hits and did not allow a run nor a walk with two strikeouts.

Presbyterian also had two solid pitching performances. Starter Beau Dees pitched six scoreless innings with five hits, one walk and two strikeouts. Wortkoetter also pitched six innings, allowing four hits and two runs with four walks and three strikeouts.

Coastal Carolina and Presbyterian will play game two of the three-game set on Friday at Noon at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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